Guiding Principles

Many stakeholder groups have been working to develop key tenets of a shared vision about what’s needed in credentialing. These principles outline what an improved credentialing system would look like and how it would serve all parties. What is emerging includes the following attributes:

  • All postsecondary credentials – including degrees – are based on competencies, making them easier to understand and use by employers, educators and individuals.
  • Users can rely on the quality of credentials, including their accuracy in representing the competencies possessed by a credential holder.
  • Credentials are continually updated and validated to ensure they stay relevant to employers’ needs.
  • All students – particularly those historically underserved – understand how credentials are interconnected and can see several pathways to increase career and economic mobility.
  • Users can combine credentials to fit their needs and inform their education-career planning, including job transitions.

Such a system would be:

  • Driven by competency and centered on learning: Ultimately, students and employers want to know what skills, knowledge and abilities are represented by each credential. We need to place the emphasis on what matters to users of credentials: whether students are equipped for 21st century jobs.
  • Relentlessly focused on quality: The more we make the quality of credentials transparent to users, the more users will migrate to those that provide the best return.
  • Based on transparency and trust: For a new system to work, everyone must have access to key information about credentials – including the competencies they build, their quality, how easily they can be transferred, and the value they bring to the labor market.
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